Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sitting Shiva: My Version.

This year has been a multitude of endings and beginnings. Relatively speaking they have all seemed pretty challenging, even the beginnings. However, all this seems trivial in comparison to the news of my dear grandma passing this morning. I did somewhat see it coming being that I was with her the week leading up to the news, and her mind was in a great deal of pain and uncomfortableness, although her body was strong. Just like her, a trooper. Besides this past week though, I didn't see it coming. I at least conveniently denied it would happen. Even in the past few days, I half expected I would see her at our yearly Thanksgiving reunion. Just like when Grandpa passed and wasn't at our Thanksgivings anymore, it was a great loss. Grandparents are extremely important. If they are the good kind, they are there to love and support you. I'm happy I had that with all four of my grandparents, even though they are all gone now. I know they loved me, and that counts for a lot.

My grandma Temme was a strong women who was very talented. She was an actress and was in countless plays in her lifetime, as well as a tv movie. She was the beauty queen of her college, and taught me the ways of dress up and makeup application at a young age. She clearly loved theater, and made a point to introduce me to Broadway musicals on the New York stage. She also introduced me to my first opera. She would have the family act out various scenes at our yearly holiday celebrations. Some are hard to recall now, but "Hats" is hard to forget. She used to sing us songs that will forever be ingrained in my brain, some a little weirder than others like, "with her head tucked". My dad performed this song to her in an attempt to have her remember last week in her incoherent state. I don't know if she did, but she did stare at him as to say that he was the one who had lost his mind. I'm sure seeing her that way could have that type of effect on a son. 

My grandma was one of the people I've consistently seen almost every single year since birth, at least that's how I remember it. My family also lived with her in Long Branch, NJ when I was still in diapers. I even took my first steps at her house. She has always been an important part of my life. Being that we are both strong willed women with birthdays days apart, we did butt heads on and off. But in the last 15 years I let that go and learned to accept her for who she was - an independent, brave, kind, loyal, loving, nurturing, talented, helpful, intelligent woman. 

She would have me visit her at her various homes by the water and I would lay out and sip egg white sodas. I recall each of her homes having the same smell, which was a mixture of something comforting and delicious food. She always made a point to rave about me to every single person that came our way. She was so proud of me and proud to have me in her life as her first granddaughter. Even though I was a rebellious drama queen in my younger years, I was secretly very proud of her too. She was a grandma-fashionista. Every time I saw her, she made a point to wear interesting jewelry, beautiful woven shawls, and have her hair and nails done. I loved her sense of style and looked up at her in this way as well. She also had Toms shoes before they were cool - such a trendsetter. Even during my last visit, her hair was freshly cut in a cute style and her nails were painted red. A ring adorned her finger and a fashionable neck piece lay on her chest connecting her to her hearing aids. She was a diva right up until the end.

One of my most meaningful memories is of our trip to Israel when I was 15. It was an experience I'll never forget. She made a point to help me connect with my Jewish roots, and I appreciated that greatly. My grandpa (her ex-husband) happened to pass away while I was there with her in Jerusalem, which was quite symbolic. 

She also greatly admired my Dad of course being that he is a classic "momma's boy". But even though, she would make sure to ask about my Mom every time I saw her. She made a point to show me that she still cared about her even though they parted ways many years back. She also gave really good advice. She would have the perfect piece of wisdom to share about the boys in my life, work, school, and family. She was a very intelligent woman and was always up on the news. She was politically driven and could compete in heated debates. 

She was a super Jewish New Jersey bargain shopping Yiddish speaking grandma. She made the best pot roast in the world, and let me eat sugary cereals that my Dad would cringe at the site of. She was the type of grandma that would ask me repeatedly if I was full and if she could get me anything else to eat. She lived to serve those closest to her. Whether it be through food, gifts and/or chotchkies from all of the countries she traveled too, or her offer to help in any way she could in each in every conversation she had with me. Each time I saw her, a big smile would spread across her face and I could instantly see how happy she was to see me. Each phone conversation I had with her made me feel loved, especially in the more recent years. She is the one person that I can honestly say was always happy to hear from me. I'm sure my parents are too, but I could ALWAYS tell with my grandma. I honestly don't know if I will ever have another person like that in my life. I will greatly miss our calls, knowing I could pick up the phone and at least hear the joy in her voice to hear from me, or hearing from her and the joy in her voice to place that call, as well as my joy in receiving it from her. All of our phone conversations would end with "I love you Meeses to Pieces." In the more recent years when she started to become forgetful, she would tell me this over and over and over, but I found it to be sweet. I don't know if it was our special thing, but it felt like it. I will admit that during my trip last week when I heard she was saying it to everyone else I felt a bit jealous.  

 I will always remember my grandma. She was a force to be reckoned with. There will never be another person in my life that was quite like her. I deeply cherish my memories of her, and I'm so very grateful I was able to be with her and say a version of goodbye while she was barely stable during her last few days. Even though I wasn't with her physically when she passed, I hope some part of her knew I was there the week leading up to it. I know she registered it for at least a min, and held my hand on my last day. That is important to remember. I will admit I did feel angry last week watching her go through so much pain and having her not really know who I was. I was mad that that type of reality can be someone's end. But that anger quickly turned to tears the days following. I am also realizing she was greatly suffering and didn't want to end up that way, so I know she is moving on to a better place. 

I love you Grandma, you have and always will mean a lot to me. Rest in peace. xoxo.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Natural Deodorant Makes Me Smell.

I've always used regular store bought deodorant that smelled pretty. I mean I'm a girl and a girlier variety at that. I can't have smelly pits that wreak. I can't be embarrassed to lift my arms. I just can't. Plus I'm a hugger, and this really doesn't fly in the hug world. But is it worth risking breast cancer for pits that smell like roses? I'm getting to the age where I think not. Actually it kind of freaks me out applying antiperspirant, as it should. I've always heard Toms doesn't do anything and that there is really no reason to even apply it at all. Then there is that whole dirty hippie smell which also correlates to Toms deodorant not doing shit. I've also went to local drug stores and grocery stores to seek out non antiperspirants, aka just plain old deodorants. I found no success, and realized they were all antiperspirants. Well WTF? So breast cancer is on the rise, yet all they sell are toxic deodorants than can lead to a higher risk? Sometimes I really wonder about this world. Sometimes, meaning every single day....but this could lead to a whole other rant.

I went on the search for awesome natural deodorant, and found what I thought was some great stuff at Whole Foods. It is called: Natural For Her Blossom. The packaging looked modern and pretty, and I liked the smell. It was only about $6, which seemed like a decent deal for something that could reduce my risk of you know what.
Well the first week I absolutely loved it. In fact I raved about it to my cousin and friends who were starting to get on the natural deodorant craze for the same reasons as I.

After that week I started to realize I could smell myself, and it didn't smell good. It was quite bizarre because I never thought of myself as a smelly person. But this stench was starting to get gross. If I applied more I could cover it up briefly, but it wasn't permanent. Maybe this stuff could do wonders for gals that don't do much except sit in an office. But my life is all over the place, and apparently my body sweats sometimes, and that sweat smells like girl BO. And even though girl BO isn't as deadly as guy BO it's still not cool. My friend who is also on the natural deodorant bandwagon brought up a good point: since our bodies haven't sweat in years with antiperspirants, we forgot they even could. Our bodies are probably so thankful they are getting the chance to sweat they are going on overdrive. Well that's cool and all, but now I smell in the hopes to go natural. Sometimes I sneak the antiperspirant if I'm going to a networking event where I'm going to have to shake hands with tons of people in a night. But that Jewish guilt I have creeps up, because is it worth the risk?

One of my girl friends suggested using essential oils straight on the pits and it works like a charm. My other friend has another deodorant that has actually worked but might be a bit pricier. I guess I will now need to try several different options and see which works the best!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blogging Is Like Yoga.

I don't know if everyone has this same problem, but there are a few things in life that I love doing but when I stop it's so hard to get back into the groove. A couple examples are below:

1. Yoga
2. Meditating
4. Getting through my to-do lists

Of course there are more, but these one the main ones I find I have an actual issue with and have the best pay off. They are all a bit tedious, but when I do them successfully I feel like a rockstar.

When I blog, I can feel my creative juices flowing and this great feeling of being able to let go just enough through fingers to keyboard. Of course I can't write everything because of the whole you-don't-know-who-is-reading-your-blog-thing-and-will-they-judge-me? But for the most part it's awesome. I also feel accomplished just busting out blogs and happy that I can find the time.
Yoga feels amazing. My whole body feels rejuvenated, and my mind is happier. So why don't I do it more? One of the main reasons is $. If I had more of it, I could join a handy yoga studio with much more class option availability that would fit in my schedule. But I could make the extra effort now to fit it in right?
Meditation is one of the most wonderful things in the world, because the payoff is incredibly helpful. I do get myself to go more often, as in at least 1x/week. Which is not very often. But even that little window of "not thinking" makes all the difference. I'm sure I could actually focus on busting out all of my to-do lists if I meditated more often...
And then lastly, to-do lists. The constant stream of stuff to do when you're an entrepreneur. Most days I can sit and bust through them, but on days like today it's challenging. I start to write out everything I need to do, realize it's way too effin much, and then decide to blog instead about how i'm not fulfilling my to-do list. Wow. Spesh.

Now do all of these things have a natural correlation? Yes. If I did more yoga, I would probably have more energy (outside of the gym which is a natural habit thank god), if I meditated more I could get through more of my to-do lists and feel less stressed. If I get through the to-do lists I could blog more. Perhaps this is the solution to procrastination for me? I see a personal experiment coming into play...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What Happiness Means To Me.

Happiness means making stuff happen that is bigger than myself. Happiness means making an impact. Happiness means that I can work with non-profits and help them raise awareness and make a difference. Happiness means having a good idea and doing everything I can to implement it. Happiness means making meaningful connections. Happiness means volunteering. Happiness means making new friendships with people who motivate me to be better. Happiness means waking up each day with a sense of purpose. Happiness means smiling each time I see my dog's face. Happiness means gaining mental clarity and not thinking once in a while. Happiness means sticking to my guns, and not letting people take advantage of me. Happiness means being in shape and feeling strong. Happiness means beautiful beats flowing through my ears. Happiness means helping others reach their full potential. Happiness means smiling at a stranger. Happiness means realizing that life can get me down, but that only means I have to work harder. Happiness means open doors when you least expect it. Happiness means having hutzpah. Happiness means embracing weirdness. Happiness means listening to your intuition. Happiness means doing your part. Happiness means being a reliable source for others. Happiness means cuddles, and feeling safe. Happiness means writing and expressing thoughts on paper or virtual paper. Happiness means love. Happiness means understanding that life sucks sometimes. Happiness is non-judgement. Happiness is helping a stranger. Happiness means conquering fears. Happiness means good conversation. Happiness means standing up for what I believe in at any cost. Happiness means family. Happiness means traveling to places unknown. Happiness means animals. Happiness means being thankful. Happiness means learning how to feel inner peace.

I hear a lot of people saying they just want to be happy. But that word is hard to define. I recently realized that happiness just means realizing that there is more to life and making an effort to give back. People often say that they ultimately want money or fame or love or power or family or friends or style, but what does that all equate to? Happiness as the root. It is the ultimate nectar. But in order to get it we need to work at it and do our part to give back. It's a direct correlation, scientifically proven, and obvious when you start moving in this direction. I'm happy my eyes are opening up to this. Now to help others realize the same thing.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Hitting Cement.

On Monday the sidewalk kicked my ass.
No, I wasn't drinking.
No, I wasn't wearing heals.
No, there wasn't anything on it to cause the slip.
...I just slipped. Or rather, ate shit.

What resulted was smashing my whole body into the cement and heading straight into on-coming traffic. I quickly got up to avoid getting hit by a car, and tried to shake it off. Not to mention, to convince myself that I was in fine shape to continue on to the non-profit educational networking event I was headed to. Of course I was now in no shape to network, or be in any way chipper. Still I walked the remaining block to the event. While walking I felt a mixture of wanting to punch a wall, bursting into tears, and laughing hysterically. My hand and ankle were majorly scraped up and my body was very shaky. All I could think was how the hell did that happen? I couldn't figure it out. There was literally nothing wrong with the sidewalk. It was just a freak accident. And a really eff'd up one at that. I mean seriously? Was that really necessary?
Now I admit, I was really tired. I had been suffering with some type of bug all day, and felt a bit dizzy. Perhaps I was even looking at my phone and had been distracted. The bottom of my flats were also a bit on the plasticky side, which could've been somewhat slippery. I really can't say for sure. But these reasons do seem logical.
I sat in my seat at the event, fake smiled at a few of the other guests, and tried really hard to be positive about the speaker's enlightening story about how he is dedicating his life to helping children. I even managed to introduce myself to him at the end and ask for a meeting.
Unfortunately it didn't end there. That night my whole body ached, I couldn't move my neck, and my back was sooo sore. I knew I had gotten whiplash, AGAIN. Fuck. I had to work from home the next day at a new job, and get some major acupuncture and massage. This whole week I've also felt like crap. The result of smashing my body on cement doesn't only feel like someone majorly kicked my ass, but it jolted my whole system. I've felt an increase of stressful feelings, pain, headaches, tiredness, and just crappy as a whole. BAH.

The moral of the story is:
*I am going to keep wearing shitty flats
*I'm going to continue to walk around downtown
*I'm also going to continue to work hard to get stuff done
*I'm going to be tired from time to time

However, moving forward, I will need to disconnect from my phone while walking, and really watch my footing. My emails, texts, social networks can wait. If I'm really tired, I will attempt to take a cat nap before the next action. If I'm dealing with a bug, I will wait for the next event, and it will be ok. That's because the 1% chance of something like that happening is not in any way shape or form worth the result. And scene.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Cups Are My Only Vice.

Today I read an article circulating the internet about an ex-party girl that decided to quit drinking for a year and how much better she feels since making that change. I really felt like I could relate to her article, almost as if I had written it myself. However, I didn't make a commitment to go cold turkey, instead I just became over it about 4 months ago.  Like literally over it. I've taken breaks before, but a part of me felt that FOMO feeling and always decided to get back on the bandwagon. Now it's almost bizarre, because I just don't give a sh*t. I feel so much better now, it actually boggles my mind why I cared to drink before. I get it, it's a social thing and everybody does it. It's also a way to escape your day, bond with new people, get to know strangers, and giggle at nothing. But for me it's just not fun anymore, and I don't like the way it makes me feel. More importantly I realized I really don't need it to have fun OR get to know strangers (aka networking). I still like going out with people, and am often in places where people are consuming copious amounts of this stuff. Frankly, it doesn't bother me. People also tell me regularly that I appear to be much younger than I am. Being a late 20-something, I couldn't ask for a better reason to refrain.

Here are a couple of things I don't miss:
1. Feeling fat and bloated
2. Brain fog
3. Lack of energy
4. Time traveling
5. Hangovers
6. Craving greasy food
7. Not doing things in life that were fulfilling
Last and not least, I wasn't Doin't ME, and makin' shit happen, as I am now.

I realized that when my brain is clear, I'm an idea generator. Not just any ideas, but really good ideas. When my eyes are on the prize, I can get things going, become a networking champ, make amazing connections, and do a lot of good in the world. I also don't put up with a lot of BS. I used to be kind of a drama queen and would let things fly, deal with overly flaky people, and creepsters. Yea, well, not so much. I also have so much more time in each day to do awesome things. Like blog. No just kidding. But like sing broadway in my room in the mirror. And yes, that one is true.

Now I'm close to being straight edge (besides the whole overly angry and punk rock part, or having it tattooed on my hands). But seriously, no caffeine (except for dark chocolate), no booze, no drugs. And, as many times as you ask me and offer me any of the above, I will say it's not my thing.

"I'm straight edge you fuck, so no I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs." 

My drink of choice when I go out is soda water & lime, and my daily drink of choice is a super green smoothie. It's not a bad way to live. However, I do have one vice, and that is Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups from Trader Joes. They are beyond heavenly, and frankly make me really happy. That might be due to the fact that one little cup combines both rich dark chocolate, creamy peanut butter, no HFCS, and they are ALWAYS at the point of purchase when I'm standing in line each Sunday. They are amazing, and I'm ok with eating A LOT of them.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Oil Pulling, What Are You Waiting For?

I've already been using EVCO for several years, mainly for cooking in replacement for oil and butter. Recently I started using it on my face at night and on my hands to soothe dryness. It would only make sense that I would adopt yet another use for this miraculous product.

I just found out about Oil Pulling. Why I'm so late to the game when I pride myself on knowing health food tricks is just absurd. But hey, I admit, I didn't know. Once I came across the article, I was immediately intrigued, because like I said, I'm a sucker for this stuff. I was especially intrigued since the simple act of swishing oil was supposed to dramatically help your teeth, as well as quality of sleep.

I waited until Sunday arrived to try it out. I popped out of bed, put a scoop (about a teaspoon) of it in my mouth, set my timer to 20 min, sat on the couch and opened my email. I admit it was quite challenging the first time. It didn't taste wonderful, and it was rather slimy. But I just kept reminding myself why I was doing it, "no dental insurance...SONYA, NO DENTAL INSURANCE."  I ended up getting through it with just the tiniest bit swallowed.
I'm going to come right out and admit, that my teeth immediately felt cleaner and smoother. Well, swishing oil would do that, so I wasn't about to go bonkers over that fact alone. I decided to give it a week and then decide.

Two weeks later
I've been doing Oil Pulling for two weeks now and I love it. It's easy, and my teeth feel very strong. They are also whiter. In fact they became whiter after only 3-days of doing it. My gums are a healthy shade of pink and don't feel as sensitive. It's also become super easy to do the swishing. I can even do the swishing while getting ready in the morning (makeup, straightening hair, getting dressed).

THIS IS BIG NEWS. Maybe some would be all like...hey cool. I'm like OMFG I'M IN LOVE AND I WILL SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS. My teeth have had chronic annoying issues since I was little. If this can help me, I'm sure it can help everyone.
/steps down from soapbox, puts down megaphone.

The best method for me is:
1) Teaspoon scoop into mouth
2) Set timer to 20 min
3) Check email, get ready for day
4) After timer gongs, spit out into trash can
5) Gargle with warm water to remove remaining oil
6) Brush teeth

And feel the effects. Some of which include:

*prevents cavities & help fix them
*restores gums to healthy shade of pink
*helps gingivitis
*prevents bad breath
*helps remove plaque
*holistic treatment of TMJ

Also, can help with:

*correcting hormone balance
*helps support normal kidney function (which can help circulation, bladder, knees, feet spasms, emotional support, etc)
*helps reduce sinus congestion
*helps reduce insomnia
*reduced hangover
*helps eliminate toxins from body

 I've also decided I want to try the sesame oil pulling after hearing it's the best. I have yet to buy it, since Trader Joes only sells toasted sesame oil and I don't know if it would have the same effects. If the results are even better, I will follow up with a part 2 blog!

Happy Swishing! :)